Organization Helps Raise Funds for Haiti

Jeannette Medelus is a 45-year old woman who can barely see to do her daily chores. Etienne Salomon is a 67-year old man who has to be led around by his grandchildren because he cannot see. The nearest medical eye facility is in Port-au-Prince; and even if they could get there, they could not afford to pay for the treatment. They both know that if they go blind, they might as well die. These are just two of nearly 700 people anticipating the arrival of the Medical Team to have their eyes examined by the physicians provided by Friends of the Children of Lascahobas, Haiti. Both patients are seen and successfully treated. Jeannette only needed eyeglasses, but Etienne had to have cataract surgery. They both leave praising the physicians and stating in French, “God will save a place in Heaven for you.” Friends of the Children of Lascahobas, Haiti (FCLH) is a non-profit volunteer organization dedicated to providing much needed services to the villagers of Lascahobas, an isolated and impoverished mountain village. Besides providing the yearly medical humanitarian mission, FCLH educates and instructs women in small business management skills, feeds 300 children in their Nutrition Program, and staffs and equips the Hospital of Lascahobas that FCLH built and maintains. FDG Fine Art Gallery, Los Angeles Urban Business Journal, Underground Frames, and the Westfield Eye Center (located in Las Vegas, Nevada) will sponsor a Haitian Art Exhibit and Reception to benefit Friends of the Children of Lascahobas, Haiti on Saturday, August 2, 2003, from 6:00pm – 10:00pm, at the FDG Fine Art Gallery, 4470 West Adams Boulevard, Los Angeles, California. The exhibit features original Haitian oil paintings, sequined flags, masks, and folk art presenting work from over 20 different artists. Dr. Kenneth Westfield, FCLH’s chief of medical operations, recruited local organizations, friends, and relatives to assist with fundraising efforts to benefit FCLH’s initiatives. Many people are stunned by the heartbreaking stories told by Dr. Westfield of poverty and lack of medical care. “It’s amazing. On the first day the medical team arrives to work at the hospital, we are greeted by hundreds of people. The people will camp outside the hospital to wait their turn to see the physicians,” says Dr. Westfield. “As soon as we unload and set up the equipment, we prioritize their conditions and immediately begin treatment. Many of them need eyeglasses, but we also perform cataract extractions and other eye surgeries. People come from as far away as the other side of the island. We will examine all the people, perform the surgeries and be ready to return to the United States within four days.” FCLH founded in 1976 by Estelle Dubuisson, a Lascahobas native and retired Brooklyn medical technician. Dr. Westfield states, “By educating the people, feeding the children and preserving the health of many townspeople, her efforts have helped to reduce the villagers’ suffering.” Although progress has been made, the needs are tremendous. Dr. Westfield said, “The hospital is staffed with only one general practitioner for 56,500 people, and needs additional staff, medical supplies and equipment. Since September 11, 2001, it has become increasingly harder to get supplies and equipment to Haiti. In addition, FCLH would like to feed more of the children.” Purchasing art from the Exhibit and your donations can help FCLH to continue with these efforts. All donations are tax deductible.

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